Mumbai: The Nationalist Congress Party on Thursday said that the White Paper on irrigation projects in Maharashtra was not an enquiry report but a compilation of the status of various projects in the state.

NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said, there was no probe going on in the Irrigation Department and the question of "clean chit" being given to former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar did not arise.

"There is no scam in the department which Ajit Pawar held for nearly ten years. No rules have been bent... there was no corruption or irregularities," Malik asserted.

When asked, as to why did Ajit Pawar resign in the first place if there was no corruption, Malik said, "there were baseless allegations against the NCP and a White Paper was under preparation. It is a compilation of the status of various projects in the state. Ajitdada resigned to avoid any controversy that he may influence the White Paper."

To a question whether Ajit Pawar would return to the ministry after the White Paper, which is said to have given a "clean chit" to him, is submitted, Malik said the rank and file of NCP wanted Ajitdada to be back in the ministry.

"Let the White Paper is received, then the party would take a call on Ajitdada's return to the ministry," he added.

Responding to a question on reports that the Centre had stopped funds under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme and sought clarifications about certain projects, Malik said seeking clarifications did not mean that an enquiry was on.

State Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had recently said that the Centre had stopped release of AIBP funds.

Malik also maintained that there was no dispute between the Congress and the NCP over the White Paper on irrigation. The findings of the White Paper are likely to be presented to the state cabinet later on Thursday.

It was Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan who had sought a White Paper on irrigation projects in the state amid reports of huge escalation in cost of several projects and insignificant increase in the land brought under irrigation.


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